reenactment“I don’t think that’s how people dressed for the occasion,” I said.

“It was supposedly a militaristic era,” said Rob. He’d dyed his skin a mottled mix of dark green, patches of brown, and fine yellow tracery, like the veins of leaves. It might have been appropriate – had he intended to run around naked in a forest without being seen. His brightly-colored orange overalls ruined that effect though. He pointed to the white ten-digit number emblazoned on the chest. “This, however, is the genuine article. I spotted the style in an old photograph and printed it specially.”

“I think you’re missing the point,” I said. “This was one of the most important rites of passage of that era. Kids waited their whole adolescent lives for this moment, and they wouldn’t have dressed like that. I’m entirely certain that’s some sort of indicator of low personal status. You should have worn a suit.”

“Are you sure?” asked Rob. He looked around, distractedly.

“Yes,” I said, firmly. “What’s the matter? Did you forget the entry token?” The organizers had printed up round metal disks that were supposed to be handed over to the attendant at the door. Apparently this was a critical part of the ritual that we were reenacting. The tokens had something to do with resource allocation, but I hadn’t researched the details.

“Is that a guitar?” he asked, not answering my question. There was a live band on a small stage set to one side of the auditorium. Two of the members held stringed instruments of some sort, while a third hit drums with wooden sticks. The musicians all wore long-haired wigs, and one of them sang into a metal object on a stand.

I shrugged. “I believe you’re supposed to ask me to dance now,” I said.

The lead singer sang sweetly about a staircase to heaven.